4 Simple Guidelines To Speed Up Your Book Writing Process
You wish you could speed it up.
You read all the articles about how to write faster. You even tracked how many words you typed every minute.
But you still can’t do it.
No matter how many times you try to increase it, your writing speed takes a nosedive as soon as you stop paying attention.
On one hand you wish you could publish your book next month, but on the other hand you want to do it justice. It can be hard balancing the two, and I understand how frustrating it can be.
When I first started writing, a 1000 word blog post used to take more than a week. I never even thought about starting my book because it was too overwhelming thinking about the time it would take.
I used to pore over each word, each sentence, trying to perfect it, hoping to sweep away readers with my glorious words and carefully crafted sentences.
The fantasy of the 10,000 hour rule
Most authors believe that a sparkling, polished book is the key to a bestseller. If you do the work, put in the hours, and make the book as perfect as it can be, you will be on the next bestseller list.
Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t turn out this way.
When you don’t get the result you wanted, you are faced with a choice. You either give up because you don’t believe it can be done, or you try even harder with your next book. I’m guessing you are not the kind to give up. You believe you have a bestseller in you, and are determined to get it out there.
If you are reading this, I want you to think about this quote (which many attribute to Einstein), “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Are you bent over your keyboard, fingers flying all over it, typing away with all you have, believing that the more time and effort you put in the better your book will be?
Stop. Just stop, okay?
I realized (too late) that successful writers publish. Fast and often.
The only sane way to make a living as an author is to publish more often, and the key to publishing more is to finish your first drafts faster.
I want to help you finish the first draft of your next book as fast as possible, while doing it justice. I can’t guarantee that it will become a bestseller (no one can), but you don’t have to spend months (or even years) writing your book if you follow these simple guidelines.
1. Don’t write on-topic
Write for the audience.
Sometimes this might mean not writing on the topic or in the genre your book will be in.
Our thoughts are influenced by the books we read and the media we consume. We tend to integrate the same ideas in our writing. It’s just human nature. But is it what our audience wants to read?
Do they read the same books we do? What blogs or social media profiles do they follow? What’s their expectation from the books they buy?
If you can answer these questions before you start writing, words will flow onto the screen. A couple of days researching your audience will serve you until your book is published, and even beyond.
2. Don’t take a break while you’re writing
You know the “write drunk, edit sobre” edict by Ernest Hemingway, right?
Write the first draft without worrying about the spelling or grammatical errors, or even the readability. Edit only after you have finished writing.
When you get into flow while writing, your thoughts appear on the screen of their own accord.
But when when you stop to think about what you are writing, you will find yourself taking breaks every few minutes, looking up facts or data to help you write. The writing isn’t seamless.
That’s why I like to do my research and take notes before I start writing. It helps me get my thoughts in order, and eases the process of getting into flow. I even make up random facts if I have to, but I don’t take a break.
Start off with audience research, and carry it forward to topic research. After you have a few notes and a rough outline, you can focus on writing.
3. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike you
Go after it with a hammer.
You know your writing habits better than anyone else. You know when you are the most productive.
If you need coffee to keep you going, brew a pot before you sit down to write.
If you write better in the morning, set an alarm.
Close your browser, turn off your phone, and switch to a full screen editor. Do whatever it takes to help you focus on your writing.
Most of all, don’t write in spurts of inspiration, make a daily habit out of it. Be like William Faulkner, who said, “I only write when I’m inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning”.
4. Try not to become a blood sucking vampire
Authors have a reputation of going into their caves to work on their manuscripts. They are infamous for ignoring everything else when they are working on their book.
It’s good to have a deep level of focus, but if that’s your approach every single day, you are heading down the path to burnout. Just ask Pat Flynn what it took to publish his new book on validating business ideas, and how soon he’s willing to take on another book project.
It really isn’t that hard to be human while you are writing your book:
- Don’t shut yourself in your room from dawn to dusk. Go out for lunch, or just go for a walk (while the sun is out).
- Even though that can of Coke is red in color, there’s no need to chug away on it like it’s your life support system. We need real food to survive, and caffeinated sugary drinks don’t count.
- Remember, you are not immortal. You need to sleep 7-8 hours daily, preferably at night. Give your body the rest it deserves, and let ideas stew in your subconscious before you pour them out onto a page.
You are an author
You love to write, and you would like nothing more than to make it a full time career. Every time you doubt yourself, or feel stuck, remember that authors always keep publishing.
The key to publishing more often is finishing the first draft as soon as possible, not just writing faster.
It took me 3 years to go from writing a 1000 word blog post in one week to finishing the first draft of my book (nearly 25000 words) in one month. And it was all because I followed these guidelines (I wasn’t perfect, but I tried).
I want you to live your dream of becoming a successful author. It all starts with finishing your first draft fast, publishing your book, and starting to build your author base.
So, what are you waiting for?
Write your way to glory.
About the Author
Debashish Das helps self published authors sell more books, so they can keep writing without worrying about taking a part-time job just to pay the bills. He believes that authors put a sliver of their soul into every book, and deserve to be fairly compensated for their art. For the blog readers of Happy Self Publishing, Deb wants to offer a free cheat sheet to help you finish your first draft faster: The Time-Tested System That Helps You Write Faster.
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